News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, May 31, 2018
Former Brooklin Boat Yard CFO to serve over 7 years in prison

by Anne Berleant

Steve Nygren, a former Brooklin Boat Yard chief financial officer, was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock in Bangor May 25 for embezzling over $800,000 from the boatyard.

Nygren had pleaded guilty on June 20, 2017 to 63 counts of bank fraud, one count of unauthorized use of a credit card, and one count of attempting to avoid paying taxes. With penalties, he owes the IRS over $1 million for tax years dating back to 1996.

“Cheating others has been a way of life for [Nygren],” Judge Woodcock said in announcing the sentence, according to a press release from the Maine U.S. Attorney’s Office. Woodcock also ordered Nygren to pay over $815,000 in restitution, and sentenced him to five years supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Ruge said that after the court denied his request for higher sentencing guidelines, he sought the maximum of nine years allowed.

“We thought this was a serious crime and demanded a serious sentence,” he said on May 29.

Nygren spoke on his own behalf in court, Ruge said, alleging he was feeling different after suffering a stroke in April 2016. Ruge noted that Judge Woodcock called it a “conviction conversion” in court.

Nygren stole the funds between June 2014 and August 2105, according to court records, after the boatyard hired him as CFO in May 2014. Owner Steve White had first used Nygren’s services through his consulting business, Continuum, 12 years ago, and, again, in 2012 and 2013.

White was alerted to the embezzlement by Camden National Bank after Nygren informed White that the company’s $600,000 credit line with the bank was used up. Bank officer Candace Gray traced the checks, which allegedly included signatures forged by Nygren, to Continuum. According to court documents, a portion of the stolen funds were used to pay bills for the Brooklin General Store through a Massachusetts bank.

The investigation was conducted by the Maine State Police, the FBI, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.